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Am J Psychiatry. 1998 Aug;155(8):1023-8.

In vivo association between alcohol intoxication, aggression, and serotonin transporter availability in nonhuman primates.

Author information

1
Clinical Brain Disorders Branch, NIMH Neuroscience Center at St. Elizabeths Hospital, Washington, DC, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Studies on brain serotonin metabolism in human and nonhuman primates have indicated that dysfunction of serotonin transmission may play a role in the biological vulnerability to dependence on alcohol. Among young men, low sensitivity to alcohol intoxication predicts subsequent alcohol abuse and dependence.

METHOD:

The authors used single photon emission computed tomography and the radioligand [(I)123]beta-CIT ([(I)123]methyl 3beta-(4-iodophenyl) tropane-2-carboxylate) to measure the availability of serotonin transporters in 11 male rhesus monkeys, and the monkeys were genotyped for a functional polymorphism of the serotonin transporter gene. The 11 monkeys had experienced parental separation after birth; their behavior and 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) concentrations in CSF had been assessed regularly.

RESULTS:

In the 5-year-old monkeys, there was a significant negative correlation between beta-CIT binding to serotonin transporters in the brainstem and 5-HIAA concentrations in CSF. Animals with greater beta-CIT binding and low CSF 5-HIAA concentrations displayed greater aggressiveness and were less sensitive to alcohol-induced intoxication. The genetic constitution of the serotonin transporter promoter gene did not significantly contribute to the availability of brainstem serotonin transporters as measured by beta-CIT binding.

CONCLUSIONS:

In adult nonhuman primates who underwent early developmental stress, variables indicating a low serotonin turnover rate were associated with behavior patterns similar to those predisposing to early-onset alcoholism among humans.

PMID:
9699688
DOI:
10.1176/ajp.155.8.1023
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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